And What A Gate It Is!
It's been awhile since I've had a chance to review a book for GDF, but I recently recieved an informative piece of literature from Chronicle Books that I just had to write about. It's all about the history (and mystery) of the Golden Gate Bridge. Being a local myself, I wanted to not only review the book, but also have a chance for a little nostalgia for the City where my heart is.
Golden Gate Bridge: History and Design of an Icon is by Donald MacDonald and Ira Nadel with fantastic illustrations by the a bridge architect himself, Mr. MacDonald. Although the book mainly discusses the historical significance of the Bridge's architecture, it also has interesting tidbits of information on the engineering, function, and colors associated with it. As we all know, the Bridge is not really painted gold at all - it's color is International Orange. Actually, before this variation on orange was even decided upon, there were other color schemes proposed. The Air Force wanted it orange-and-white striped while the Navy desired yellow-and-black. View image All black or grey was considered as well. Can you imagine a candy cane striped icon over the Bay? Opened in 1937 at a cost of $35 million, the Bridge runs 1.7 miles in length and stands 746 feet high while 121 feet wide. The Bridge, proper, is much longer than that, but I don't have time to cover that here. The design has a hybrid of styles, from Art Deco to Mayan, and had undergone many revisions before the final Bridge of today was built. Of course, there were cost overruns and delays, but the icon that spans the Golden Gate today is truly an inspiration. At a toll of $5 per car to get into the City (originally it was 50 cents), you can get out for free, there are approximately 106,000 vehicle crossings every day. It's a busy bridge. Having the dubious distinction of being the most-used edifice for killing oneself, there are design discussions currently going on to prevent jumping or to catch the jumpers after they leap. The book itself is short and squat in stature and is the same International Orange color. It's a great read full of fun Bridge facts and trivia that will amaze your friends and family while driving, biking, or walking across it. The book is out now and retails at $16.95 - at least that's higher than the Bridge toll.